Budget Depression

sandSometimes you get ahead of yourself. Sometimes the unexpected shows up and thrashes you. Sometimes you just plain dropped the ball.

When you’re a homemaker, it’s up to you to hit the numbers. I’ll be honest, running an ERE-oriented household gives me a set of metrics far more demanding than any corporate mandated bullshit. And some months I just plain suck at it.

To stick within our grocery budget for the remainder of July, I’m going to have to get really creative, but I want to. Badly. My love affair with ethical and locally sourced food is great. I’m passionate about it. But it’s very, very easy to get ahead of where our finances are right now. Ditto canning and preserving.

With another year of experience, maybe I’ll be able to know the flow of the seasons better and plan accordingly. But I can’t keep blowing past our budget limit – it makes me feel like I’m doing a crappy job running our household.

So the next few weeks I may do some refactoring. Look at where I can still buy the ethical animal products, but use less of it. Eat differently. Still hit my own demanding numbers.

Then again, the goblins are growing. Especially since we use bikes as a major source of transportation, we all need more calories. So maybe the plan itself is flawed. But I won’t know until I try.


6 Comments on “Budget Depression”

  1. You didn’t give any numbers, but I bet you can make it! More eggs and peanut butter! My kids loooove cooked oatmeal with natural peanut butter stirred in and either honey or a few chocolate chips. Dirt cheap and nutritious! And did I already recommend the Prudent Homemaker to you? That lady knows how to stretch some meat. Good luck!

  2. $70 is tough, I feel for you. Might I suggest meat free? But I don’t think you eat a lot of meat anyway, right? We’re meat-free except for frozen salmon (which I know is not local :/) from Costco, which is saving us a ton. Here’s an idea: we found a gigantic can of garbanzo beans at Costco last week, which we made into 6 batches of hummus. Beans, anyone?

  3. OK, $70 for 14 days isn’t exactly easy… but you can totally do it!

    Let’s break it down:

    $70 / 14 = $5/day

    Or pretty much exactly $1/day/person. Alright, now I’m getting intimidated too 🙂

    Assuming you have _nothing_ in your pantry, here’s what I came up with:

    You know my infatuation with oats. $0.10 / serving is hard to beat. And it’s stick-to-your-ribs slow burning carbs for the cyclists. With this budget you won’t be able to add much else, maybe a dab of brown sugar, but it’s pretty decent on it’s own.

    So now we have $0.90/person to work with.

    You bake, right? I’m thinking homemade sandwich bread with either peanut butter or homemade hummus. Either one gets you plant-protein at a reasonable cost. Let’s say a fully loaded sandwich here is $0.30/person.

    OK, now we’re getting towards dinner and we’ve got $0.60/person left. I’m thinking summer vegetable stir-fry with rice. Zucchinis and squash are usually the best bang for your vegetable bucks, but since we’re in peak growing season I bet there’s other value to be had. Depends on your local market. I bet with some careful veg selection you could make this come out for under $0.60/person.

    If I was in your situation, that’d be what I would try.

    Alternate super cheap dinners: Pasta with summer veg. Your delicious looking pizza! Rice + anything, especially black beans ($0.50/can at aldi).

    I don’t have any meat in any of these, simply because I’m not sure it’s possible to do meat on $1/person/day. At least not meat that anyone is interested in eating 🙂 There’s also probably not much room here for organics. I bet you can find some local conventional summer veg though.

    This is also a great opportunity to play the “use up everything dusty and unloved in the pantry/freezer” game. We all have those lurkers… time to get creative! This does sometimes take a forgiving family willing to eat slightly odd combos 🙂

    And honestly, don’t beat yourself up over slightly missing a budget. I know how fun it is to “win” the frugality game… but it’s not always going to happen.

  4. […] my plan to get through the next 12 days on $70, these are going to be made at least […]

  5. David says:

    Grocery visit that should get us through the rest of the month leaves us $15 under budget still.

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